Friday, 23 February 2018

Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, Feb 22, 2018 ****

Book by Douglas McGrath; Music by Gerry Goffin & Carole King, Barry Mann & Cynthia Weil
At Her Majesty's Theatre, Melbourne, until June 24, 2018 
Reviewer: Kate Herbert on Feb 22, 2018
Stars: **** 
This review is not published in the Herald Sun. KH
Esther Hannaford (as Carole King)& Josh Piterman (Gerry Goffin) Beautiful - The Carole King Musical. Pic Joan Marcus
Carole King's dramatic and emotional music has touched the hearts and minds of so many people, and Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, reveals the personal life of this gifted singer-songwriter.

Esther Hannaford's portrayal of King is thrilling, capturing King's youthful awkwardness and warmth, her Brooklyn accent, exceptional musical talent and her ebullient and charming presence as she grew into her life, her loves and her music.

It is the music of the 60s and 70s that makes Beautiful a thrilling and entertaining night in the theatre.

Hannaford channels King’s idiosyncratic vocal style when she sings It's Too Late, You've Got A Friend, A Natural Woman, and finally, Beautiful, which brought the entire, opening night audience to it's feet for a standing ovation.

Of course, the crowd wanted more, so Hannaford and the cast sang a rousing encore of I Feel The Earth Move.

It is not only King's music from her solo albums such as Tapestry that features in Beautiful, but also pop songs she wrote in the 60s with husband, Gerry Goffin (Josh Pitterman), and a catalogue of their hits performed by The Drifters, The Shirelles, Little Eva and even The Monkees.

The Australian cast of Beautiful The Carole King Musical. Photo BEN SYMONS
Completing the musical landscape of the 60s and 70s are songs by King and Goffin's dear friends, and fellow songwriters, Cynthia Weil (Lucy Maunder) and Barry Mann (Mat Verevis), whose hits included, You've Lost That Loving Feeling, On Broadway and We Gotta Get Out of This Place.

The orchestra, under musical director, Danny Edmonds, plays the classic pop and rock tunes with passion and skill.

Meanwhile, the stage is filled with characters in the music industry, including producer, Donny Kirshner (Mike McLeish), and the dance routines by The Drifters, The Shirelles and other acts are not only colourful, but often hilarious.

Beautiful is a vivid, entertaining, funny and often poignant depiction of life as Carole King, virtuoso of modern popular music.
by Kate Herbert

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